The North Carolina Gold Festival will take place April 18-19, at Tom Johnson’s Rally Park on Highway 70 in Marion (near the intersection of US-70 and US-80).

The state of North Carolina has a history rich in gold prospecting. The first documented discovery of gold (found by a 12-year-old boy) was in the Charlotte area in 1799. The gold rush in the North Carolina mountains began shortly thereafter. Between 1804 and 1828, North Carolina remained the only producer of domestic gold in the country, and the state remained the highest producer (even after gold was discovered in Georgia) until 1848, when gold was discovered in California.

In 2004, McDowell County citizens formed the NC Gold Foundation, Inc., a 501 (c)(3) Charitable Organization to promote, educate, and preserve the Gold Heritage of North Carolina. The NCGF seeks to educate the region about the untold history of the Gold Rush Era in North Carolina and the Blue Ridge Mountain region. This year marks the fifth year for the NCGF’s Gold Festival.

The Gold Festival kicks off on Friday, April 18 at noon and goes until 9pm, then starts again on Saturday, April 19 from 9am to 9 pm. Admission is free. At the festival, you’ll find gem and mineral displays, a mountain treasure hunt, storytelling, Battle of the Bands, arts, crafts, and food vendors, and demonstrations. Music includes Country Current, a U.S. Navy Band, who will perform at 2pm and 7pm on Friday, and Juleigh Ed of Morganton (with the Dixie Dawn Band) returns this year to perform a tribute to veterans and active servicemen and women at 6pm on Saturday.

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